Still hope for those who want to ‘Believe’

It just had to be a false alarm when the Criss Angel building wrap started coming off the Luxor last week. Turns out the “Believe” sign is just being moved.

Ticket-buyers who consider themselves burned believe Cirque du Soleil’s much-mocked magic show should close, sooner than later if they have any say.

But c’mon, folks. It hasn’t even been open a year! Saying that isn’t as much of a joke as it probably should be.

Last week’s unveiling of “Peepshow” caused me to think again about original titles created for Las Vegas and why, more often than not, they sputter out of the gate.

What shows did everyone love from day one? Well, there was “O.” Also the Beatles opus “Love,” but even it had creators forging on to tighten and cut things that didn’t work.

Will “Believe” end up being more like “Storm,” the Mandalay Bay show that proved beyond salvage? Or will the current process of “fixation” (Cirque’s term) eventually deliver illusions that keep up with David Copperfield? Just maybe, “Believe” can join the company of “Zumanity,” “Ka” and “Le Reve,” all titles most would say are markedly better than when they opened.

Cirque spokeswoman Cara Luttrell said “Believe” fixes are dragging on longer than anyone wanted, and while there’s no hard deadline, “we want to get it done as quickly as possible.”

The city’s track record for putting up original shows is so dismal, it led to a whole wave of imported Broadway hits. “The Lion King” opens next month and better be great, since creators have had nearly 12 years to tweak something that was a hit to begin with.

Let’s follow the comparison. Scripted theater such as “The Lion King” has, well, a script to start with. Table readings lead to workshop productions and an out-of-town opening (Minneapolis for “The Lion King”) to work out the kinks for Broadway.

Las Vegas shows tend to be less verbal, more about complicated stagecraft that eats rehearsal time.

“Peepshow” producer Scott Zeiger explains the title grew out of a six-week workshop in New York, when the show was scripted from storyboards. It culminated with a showcase in the off-Broadway complex 37 Arts, with no lighting or costumes, but a plywood set and a small band.

It was a big leap to the product unveiled last week, albeit after “previews.” And it’s why “Peepshow” should continue to improve.

Granted, this whole odd process doesn’t help anyone. Try telling someone who shelled out a couple of C-notes for “Le Reve” last year that director Franco Dragone really likes it … now.

Bad word of mouth is hard to overcome, even as shows improve. But until someone figures out a better way of doing it? All we can do is remember the virtues of patience.

Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.

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